Posted on June 2nd, 2017 - Fiona
The beautiful old market town of Lostwithiel is a tourist attraction all year round with its quaint train station, river, antique shops and quirky boutiques along twisted narrow lanes. Once a year the usual peace and quiet is replaced by LostFest, the Lostwithiel Festival held each year for just one day. We have been before and loved it, as it is only half an hour from Coombe Mill and fits nicely between the morning farm run and evening train ride here. A dry day makes all the difference and as the sun was shining we picked up a couple of Clio’s friends and Guy and set off.
I had forgotten how pretty Lostwithiel is in May with the wisteria draped over the old cottages.
Thankfully we had agreed meet up points as it was busy and the kids were off exploring while I was admiring the cottages. Delicious smells finally made everyone hungry and brought us back together after enjoying a good wander around the craft stalls with delicious smells from the pop up food stands around. Nick and I couldn’t resist buying the giant Greek olives and sweet deserts we love for supper and I fell in love with a printed reversible skirt that even came in its own pretty reusable bag.
Food is a big part of the Festival and we were spoiled for choice. Having older children with their own tastes and ideas we just sent them off with money to make their own choices while we enjoyed a Mexican feast watching the world go by down by the river. Here we reminisced on previous years when the children were younger and would play on the rope swing still hanging from a tree on the far riverbank. Guy caught us up with ice cream in hand and announced that he was going to go and join the kids in the river.
I barely had time to grab my camera and head up onto the bridge before I saw him taking over the rope and land in the river! I think at this point he wished his brother Jed had come along too; the pair of them would have been showing off for hours.
Without the girls wanting to go in he was soon out and swapping a t shirt for a hoodie and joining us watching a very clever crafter turn hazel sticks into flowers. Nick and Guy watched with interest as each flower was made in about 5 minutes. My husband is all charm and even bought me one for £2 to see if we could recreate them from our willow bush.
Meanwhile the girls had found the face painting tent and all came out with glittery moonshine faces.
However they were less than impressed when Guy took to bashing them all over the head with his newly purchased inflatable hammer!
We stopped to watch the classic Morris Dancing in the street before winding our way home after another lovely LostFest day.
Thank you all at Lostwithiel who work to bring this day together. It was a great atmosphere with some really interesting stalls and wonderful live entertainment. We are looking forward to LostFest 2018 already.
Posted on May 29th, 2017 - Fiona
The importance of Water Safety
Here at Coombe Mill with a river and two lakes we know just how important water safety is. In the summer season the children love to play in the river and providing the current is gentle enough it is something we encourage. For our younger guests we try to keep a few arm bands and floats in our boot room to borrow alongside the wetsuits as a little extra security for parents. Even when the river isn’t suitable to swim in here we have a link up with our friends at Camelford Leisure Centre where Coombe Mill guests can swim in a full length heated indoor pool free of charge. The Camelford Pool has a life guard on duty but it is still the responsibility of the parent to ensure their child is safe in the water at all times. For non swimmers a swim aid such as Aquaplane is peace of mind for holiday fun.
Aquaplane: The New Swim Aid
Move over arm bands, there’s a new swim aid come to kick you into touch! Aquaplane is the brain child of swim instructor Chris Shore, who has coached many championship swimmers, and he says:
‘It’s all about feeling confident and safe. Aquaplane straps to a child’s back, leaving their arms free from resistance, enabling them to stretch out in the water, and achieve the correct body position naturally and easily’.
Aquaplane is perfect for building water confidence and a feeling of being able to float with limbs free to splash, however it also adapts to take a child through all the different stages to further their swimming techniques as Chris explains:.
‘Aquaplane will help a child to learn to swim on their back, too. The wide & low profile enables the learner to have more balance and the patented design gives a superior streamlined position compared to all other swimming aids.
Once your child is through the early stages of development, you can then remove the straps and Aquaplane can be used as a kick board to enhance stroke development.
As further progress is achieved, Aquaplane turns into a performance tool to build stamina and strength.’
What we thought of Aquaplane
We put Aquaplane to the test with a family staying with us who were going swimming at Camelford. The girls at age 4 had already mastered the beginnings of swimming and used the Aquaplane as a float. This is what their Mum had to say on their return:
When we got to the pool they both tried the aqua plane as a float to practice kicking, it worked well and the girls enjoyed it. They loved the rocket shape and it was comfy for them to hold. I was also amazed at how quickly it dried.
The following week the Aquaplane was borrowed again, this time using the straps to allow freedom for arms as well as legs whilst giving body support. I asked the Mum how she found the product and she told me:
“The straps adjust easily to ensure the float fits comfortably and securely in place giving our daughter confidence to splash.”
Need to know Facts for Aquaplane:
Pack contents ||
Float and 2 body straps|
Suitable for||children aged from 3 upwards|
|Endorsed by||Two luminaries in championship swimming – Chris Shore, Chris Cooke (Team GB Athens ’04 and Beijing, ’08) as well as swimming instructor and Commonwealth Games team member, Dan Coombs (Delhi’10)|
Win your Aquaplane Swim Aid with Hippychick and Coombe Mill
If you know someone learning to swim this summer that would benefit from an aquaplane, why not enter to win. Simply follow the instructions below.
We were sent our aqua plane from Hippychick for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and those of our visitors who tested it for me. Our Aquaplane is available for Coombe Mill guests to borrow from the boots and wetsuit room.
Posted on May 27th, 2017 - Fiona
Last week I couldn’t wait to share our exciting new family holiday lodge, Polzeath. A week on I am proud to say our first holiday makers have rebooked to return again next year. This is the best sign that we really found the perfect holiday home design in there. Following all the hard work of building Polzeath, my promise on Monday’s post was to try to spend more quality family time over the summer months at our holiday lodge namesake, Polzeath Beach. What I didn’t realise was that my first opportunity would roll round so fast. It was the end of a busy changeover day here at the farm and with all the guests in, and the family fed, I donned my “Mum’s taxi” hat to drive Theo’s girlfriend home. The evening sun had already left the valley when we left but was now dazzling me as I drove towards the coast and I had a sudden craving to breathe in some sea air. When I suggested to the pair in the back seats I extend their time together watching the sunset at Polzeath they were quick to agree. We parked up on the cliff top for our impromptu visit where I filled my senses with sea air and the beautiful setting sun while they playfully strolled ahead.
Polzeath Beach on a Summer’s Evening
What none of us knew as we wandered carefree across the beach were the horrors waiting to unfold at Manchester Arena. Theo’s two older brothers were at the Arena for a concert just a few weeks ago. It feels like everyone has some kind of connection, even me from my quiet corner of Cornwall. My heart goes out to all affected by events that Monday evening.
My thanks go to my lovely models who agreed to feature in my photos. Trust me there is no taking this for granted with teenagers.
Posted on May 26th, 2017 - Fiona
Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill
Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky designed to:
“Encourage family fun outdoors, in an age where technology and screens are such a draw to a sedentary indoor life”
Welcome back if you are a regular to Country Kids and if you are new please join in. You will find plenty of inspiration for enjoying outdoor space and please do share your own adventures. We support the National Trust 100 things to do before you are 11¾ along with all other ideas for family fun outside.
Happy Bank Holiday Weekend
After a shocking week in the country with the horror of the bomb at Manchester Arena , I am ready for a little fresh air and family time this weekend. Manchester seems to have touched everyone’s life in someway, even here in Cornwall I can’t help but reflect on the fact that two of my own boys were up at a concert in the arena just a few weeks ago. A sunny weekend and family time is just what we need.
On the farm the chickens are back out of their winter chicken house in the field with the ducks and our ducklings are thriving. It’s lovely to see the guests enjoying feeding them all and searching the field for the eggs. Whatever your plans this weekend, I hope you’ll pop by and share them on the link up below.
Guidelines for Joining in:
- Post must be predominantly outdoors such as in the garden, the park, the woods or the beach with crafting, learning, exploring or playing.
- Despite the title, both countryside and urban outdoor adventures are welcome.
- Unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
- Please comment on my host post and a minimum of 3 others of your choice.
- If you use #CountryKids when commenting the post owner will know where your found them and hopefully come back to visit your post.
- Please take my badge, without it you won’t be considered for winning the lovely Rockfish Wellies.
- Linked posts should be written and made live within the last 2 months.
- I understand sometimes you need to do catch up posts and write about something from a couple of months ago but the publish date should be within 2 months.
- By joining in with Country Kids you’re giving me permission to email you weekly as a reminder.
- There is no restriction on the number of posts that can be linked up, however please be sensible, if you have more than 3 consider linking over a few weeks.
My top commenters from last week:
- Helena from The Queen of Collage who commented on 24 posts.
- Helen from The Princess and The Pickle who commented on 22 posts.
- Michelle from Mummy From the Heart & Sherry from Life at Cooks Cabin who commented on 14 posts.
We have no bloggers link dumping this week, although do remember I comment count on Thursday after lunch so get your comments in before then if you want them to be counted.
Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids
Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly
I am delighted to have Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish quality wellingtons for all the family. We have been offering their country wellies in our borrow room here on the farm for over a year and they are always popular for their style, comfort and durability.
Each week my favourite #CountryKids posts, which include my badge or a link back here, will be considered for a free pair of Rockfish Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. Keep your posts coming, it could be you winning next!
For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.
Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the May Rockfish Wellies:
Top Commenter: Helena from Queen of Collage.
I’ve never been to the Isle of Wight but Mummy Travels makes it look very appealing
Forest Schools sounds so like my Activity Hour here I can’t help but love what they do. The Helpful Hiker went along to a taster session to see what it is all about.
Country Kids Communities
I’d love you to join me:
Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too.
Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.
Join the growing Country Kids Instagram Community with #CountryKidsFun.
I'll like and comment on all and share my favourites from the week with a tag on a Friday on Instagram and Twitter. With over 3950 posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.
My favourite photos from the week came from @bebe.voyage, @billieirelandart, @westcountrymum & @themumreviews. Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following.
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Posted on May 26th, 2017 - Fiona
During term time Coombe Mill is full families with toddlers and preschool children who are able to take advantage of our lower priced weeks. Planning activities they can all join in with is often a challenge, but a good theme helps. We have looked at pirates before and know how popular this is for little ones, but we wanted to add something new and decided to focus on every pirate’s best friend, the parrot. Parrots and pirates was the perfect toddler combination.
Colourful Parrots from toilet tolls
With our theme set the rest all flowed. I had some red painted toilet rolls left from making Chinese New Year Lanterns and decided these would make perfect parrot bodies. With help from parents we cut the toilet roll to make the head, beak and feet and then added coloured floristry ribbons for the wings and head feathers. Ta-da, beautiful parrots for little pirates.
Pirates off on an adventure
I had planned to do some painting next but I could see the children were already becoming restless going off to play with my giant pirate palm tree so I decided to move onto our treasure hunt. We had newspaper prates hats planted on sticks that the children had to spot and collect to lead us to our treasure.
Our trail took us through the fairy gardens where we had to spot the parrots in the tree.
Finding the hat to lead us out of the fairy gardens took a little time as there were plenty of distractions that we let the children explore. Finally we were on our way again and the children were now tuned to looking out for the hats and found them more easily. The last was by the pirate play boat where they began hunting for the missing treasure for my box. This was a great chance to combine play and treasure hunting all at once.
It was a long walk back for little legs so we had them finding a stick along the way. This was to form the oars for their own pirate boat. They climbed aboard with their parrots and the palm tree behind and rowed to home singing along the way.
Painted parrots everywhere!
After all that adventure time the children were ready for my parrot painting. Asking 1 to 4 year old’s to paint a parrot was clearly too tricky so we made them fun and easy with hand and foot prints.
With warm bubbly water on ready in a paddling pool to clean up, painting parrots had never been such fun!
Capturing our parrot and pirate adventures in video